All Aboard The QB Carousel
Jeff Garcia is now in Philly, again.
Jeff Garcia is now in Philly, again.

Posted Sep 18, 2009


Every season in the NFL ushers in an era of change at the QB position. 2009 seemed to go beyond the norm as some big names have found new spots. Here's a look at few of the moves, with plenty of time for more to come.

Quarterbacks have suddenly jumped on the merry-go-round that usually has a special line reserved for kickers and punters.

When Michael Vick signed with Philadelphia, it left A.J. Feeley as the odd-man out. He was released and has hooked on with Carolina, which found itself in need of a backup quarterback when Josh McCown suffered a foot injury Sunday.

That's the same Josh McCown that was acquired by the Panthers in the days leading up to the season when Tampa Bay decided it had one too many quarterbacks on the roster.

In an ironic twist, the Eagles found themselves in need of a quarterback when Donovan McNabb cracked a rib. With Vick not eligible to play until Week 3, Philly ran the risk of heading into Sunday's game with Kevin Kolb as its only healthy signal-caller.

They didn't turn to Feeley, instead opting for Jeff Garcia, who led the Eagles to the playoffs in 2006 when McNabb was injured. Garcia was available because he requested his release from Oakland before the start of the season.

Apparently the 39-year-old didn't want to labor behind accuracy-challenged JaMarcus Russell in Oakland, but signing on with a potential playoff team that already has three capable quarterbacks on the roster was attractive enough to get off the couch.

On the carousel, Feeley might be in the best position for significant playing time this season. Starter Jake Delhomme has turned the ball over 11 times between his start last Sunday and the Panthers' playoff loss to Arizona last week, and was given a tepid vote of confidence by coach John Fox.

"It's like the security of all of us -- day-to-day," said Fox. "In this game it's what have you done for me lately -- and that's true for all positions."

Another scenario to keep an eye on is in New England and New York. The Patriots chose to release Andrew Walter and former second round pick Kevin O'Connell as part of their final roster cuts leaving just undrafted rookie free agent Brian Hoyer to carry the load if Tom Brady should suffer a setback with his surgically repaired knee. After what happened to Brady last season still fresh on their minds, The Patriots understand that only having one backup (Hoyer) may not be a permanent solution.

"With this position, or any position, we evaluate the alternatives," said Patriots Director of Pro Personnel Nick Caserio." Brian [Hoyer] has been here since training camp — or actually since the rookie minicamp — and he’s proven that he has an understanding and a grasp of what we’re doing, offensively."

New England acquired former Cowboy Isaiah Stanback, a receiver, who is now listed as the team's third quarterback.

O'Connell has moved over to the Jets, via a trade with Detroit. The Lions acquired O'Connell off the waiver wire from New England, evaluated their backup situation behind Matthew Stafford, and opted to move forward with Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper was acquired from Oakland the season before.

O'Connell is the fourth quarterback in New York, and his knowledge of the Patriots offense is more likely to keep him around than his skills as a passer. The Jets traded up in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft to select Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is firmly ingrained as the Jets starter ahead of last year's backup Kellen Clemens.

The Jets starter last year? Brett Favre who is now starting for the Minnesota Vikings.

Sanchez is confident in his skills after the Jets defeated the Houston Texans, but he could use some help scouting the Patriots.

"We didn't bring (O'Connell" here to be an assistant coach, but do you really think I wasn't going to at least have him come in and see his take (on the game plan)?" Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "Of course I'm going to."

For now the carousel has slowed, but there's plenty of time for it to get going again. The NFL trade deadline isn't until October 20, 2009.

 



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